Paul is known as the Apostle of Grace but do you know that he was one of the most undeserving people in the world. He was both a religious fundamentalist and a criminal. He was a Pharisee and a murderer!
1st Timothy 1 “12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
What was Paul doing when he received the grace of God? He was busy persecuting the Church, arresting Christians and murdering them all over the Roman Empire (Acts 22:1-10). He was the most religious Pharisee of them all (Philippians 3:1-6). He was in the midst of his worst actions when Jesus appeared to him. That’s all that was required – Jesus just appeared to him and Paul was changed. From the worst Pharisee and criminal he became the greatest Apostle of Grace!
Paul did nothing to deserve it. He did not seek Jesus or pray the sinner’s prayer or go to Church. He did not do anything good. He was the worst of sinners – and he was qualified to receive grace! God’s grace is given to those who do not even try to qualify themselves!
Romans 9 “30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal.”
This is why Jesus was persecuted by the most holy and God-fearing people in the world – the Jews. But the Gospel was accepted by the most unholy sinners – the prostitutes, tax-collectors and criminals.
Matthew 21 “Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
This is why the Church of Christ in the 1st century was filled with the outcasts of society. They were the ones who recognized and needed his grace!
But in the end even the Pharisees were saved at the 2nd coming of Christ in 70AD. Everybody was saved because God loves ALL people the same! God made a New Covenant taking away the sins of all of humanity!
Romans 11 ” and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins………For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them ALL.”
This is why Hitler is in heaven today. All those who die without believing in Christ are in heaven. All the criminals are in heaven. Why? Just look at Paul! He was doing wrong things because of ignorance. It’s the same today – people do bad stuff because they don’t know God’s love. Jesus says “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they do”. Paul did not receive grace by his faith and efforts. Paul only believed when Jesus appeared to him! Paul did nothing to deserve it. This is what happens today! When people die then they will see Jesus in His glorious love and grace. Their hearts will melt and they will gladly confess Him as Lord and Savior! This is for the glory of God that ALL humanity has been saved by His grace (Christ)!
Philippians 2 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
It’s because Grace is apart from human efforts! Even our faith is a human effort! But Jesus is faithful to the faithless! He gives grace to those who cannot do it! Eventually He gives it everyone because nobody can do it!
Romans 11 ” if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
2nd Timothy 2 “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.“
Grace can only accepted by the thirsty – by those who don’t have the human strength to attain the approval of society. People who have failed in religion, education, corporate world, entertainment, sports and every area of human society – are the prime candidates for GRACE! The tree of the knowledge of good & evil is not just religion but it’s morality that is found in every man’s heart. Even the atheists know what is right and wrong. Every human being boasts in their ability to be moral in their own efforts. They condemn those who fail in the world. This system says “attain the reward by human effort”. But when people run out of steam, then they are thirsty. It’s only the thirsty who can receive the grace!
Revelation 21 “5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”
The Judgment Day is over. Jesus became sin to make you righteous. He became cursed to make you blessed. If you are thirsty, then come and BELIEVE in Jesus – who is God’s unconditional GRACE and love for you. He has finished the work. IT is DONE!